South Africa’s seven franchises will battle it out for Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup honours when the domestic season resumes next month, after a complete re-working of fixtures and competition structures has been forced by the six-month interruption.
Following the Vodacom Super Fan Saturday matches in Pretoria (26 September) and the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown in Cape Town (3 October), the seven provincial teams will head into a double round of local action over 16 weekends with two trophies up for grabs – Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup.
The first round of matches – from 10 October to 21 November – will be for Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked honours, with the winner coming from whichever of the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers, Toyota Cheetahs, Tafel Lager Griquas or Phakisa Pumas has the most log points.
All log points will then be carried forward into the second round – the Currie Cup from 28 November to 9 January 2021 – which will culminate in semifinals (16 January) and a final on 23 January next year.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will defend the crown they won in 2019 against the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Xerox Golden Lions, Tafel Lager Griquas, Phakisa Pumas, Cell C Sharks and DHL Western Province.
“We are very grateful for the excellent cooperation we’ve had from our sponsors, broadcast partner, the unions and other stakeholders to get to a point where we can actually start looking forward to actual rugby matches on weekends again,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Depending on our participation in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, we’ll see our top local Springboks in action in the coming weeks and months.
“The impact of the pandemic on the season has been extraordinary and we have had to come up with an extraordinary solution to be able to complete the Vodacom Super Rugby season and contest the Currie Cup. We believe that this is the best solution for everyone involved.
“All the teams will face each other home and away, and will enjoy two byes during the four months we believe will deliver top-class local rugby and unearth the next generation of stars for South African rugby.”
SA Rugby also announced a five-team Provincial Under-21 competition between the Blue Bulls, Free State, Golden Lions, Sharks and Western Province.
The details of this competition, as well as the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup fixtures will be confirmed shortly.